Eating on the Road
By Nancy Brinch, MS, RD, LSW
A college athlete can find healthful eating a challenge when traveling
to athletic events. Balancing eating schedules with event schedules
and making healthful food selections on the road can be difficult.
Eating out more healthfully
eating out can be fast and convenient, it also can be a cause
overeating. According to Restaurant Confidential one serving of
Fettuccine Alfredo contains 1500 calories and 97 grams of fat.
A Bloomin Onion contains 1690 calories and 119 grams of fat without
the dipping sauce (2130 calories and 163 of fat with the dipping
sauce). A typical serving of King Pao chicken contains 1620 calories
and 76 grams of fat. A Burger King Value Meal with a Whopper,
medium fries and medium Coke has 1270 calories and 57 grams of
fat. A Starbucks venti caffe mocha has 530 calories and 29 grams
Fast Food Strategies
1. Choose grilled chicken instead of beef - but watch out
for high-calorie mayonnaise-based sauces. Ask for low-fat mayonnaise
2. Look for salads - and use a light dressing or use half of the
3. Order small sizes - avoid the temptation to supersize your
4. Drink water or unsweetened iced tea.
Fast food suggestions:
Grilled chicken Caesar salad
Chicken McGrill with light mayo
Chicken Whopper Jr. Chicken
Whopper with reduced-fat mayo
BK veggie burger
Grilled chicken sandwich
Chili - large or small
Mandarin chicken salad
Southwest chicken salad
Spring mix salad
Tender roast chicken sandwich
Honey BBQ chicken sandwich
Low fat subs with light mayo
(i.e. Select honey mustard ham, Select red wine
vinaigrette club, Select sweet onion
Soft chicken taco
Regular soft taco
General restaurant strategies
1. Ask the server to explain the menu if a food item is unclear.
Ask how the meats and vegetables are prepared. Even if they are
grilled or baked they may be served with butter or sauces that
are high in fat.
2. Select foods from the healthy or light menu items. Usually
these foods are healthier choices.
3. Watch for hidden fats. Full-fat salad dressings can add 250-300
calories to a salad. Although the fat in salad dressings is not
harmful to the heart, it can add a significant amount of calories.
Meats can be high in fat. Select a relatively lean cut like sirloin
over a porterhouse steak or prime rib. Watch out for words like
creamy, sautéed, Alfredo. These all indicate the meal is high
in fat and calories.
4. Request changes in how a food is prepared or served. Ask if
an item can be grilled rather than fried. Ask for salad dressing
on the side and for potato accompaniments like sour cream and
cheese on the side and use only small portions.
5. Ask about substitutions. Ask if the restaurant will serve a
salad or plain baked potato instead of cole slaw or fries. Ask
for light salad dressing instead of full-fat dressing. Ask if
an omelet can be prepared with egg substitute or egg whites. The
restaurant may not honor your request, but asking is worth the
6. Watch out for buffets. Attempting to get your money's worth
may be self-defeating if this means eating a high-fat, high-calorie
Chain restaurant suggestions:
Linguine alla Marinara
Grilled chicken Capri
Chicken salad with dressing
Chicken sandwich with black beans and steamed vegetables
Chicken platter (grilled chicken breast with rice, corn on the
cob, steamed vegetables)
Low-fat blackened chicken salad with dressing
Low-fat chicken fajita quesadilla
Low-fat lemon chicken pasta